Satellite images suggest Russia is building up troops and equipment in at least three regions near Ukraine’s eastern border.
According to images released by Maxar Technologies, a convoy of armored vehicles and trucks was seen on a highway in the village of Vilkhuvatka, near Kharkiv, over the weekend.
Multiple deployment areas and equipment in revetments were also seen at Kherson airbase with on April 7 with some of the vehicles displaying the Z marking.
A closer view of a convoy of military vehicles was purported to be seen near Bilokurakyne in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine earlier this week.
Summary and welcome
Hello and welcome back to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine.
I’m Samantha Lock and I will be bringing you all the latest developments as they unfold.
Here is a comprehensive re-cap of where things stand:
- US president Joe Biden has labeled Russia’s actions in Ukraine as “genocide”, saying Russian president Vladimir Putin “is trying to wipe out the idea of being able to be Ukrainian”. “We’ll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me,” he added. Zelenskiy promptly responded: “True words of a true leader. Calling things by their names is essential to stand up to evil.”
- Putin’s closest ally in Ukraine, Viktor Medvedchuk, has been captured by Ukrainian law enforcement. Medvedchuk is the leader of the Opposition Platform for Life, Ukraine’s biggest opposition party. Zelenskiy proposed releasing him to Russia in exchange for Ukrainians captured by Russian forces. Zelenskiy also warned Russia: “Let Medvedchuk be an example for you. Even the former oligarch did not escape, not to mention much more ordinary criminals from the Russian boondocks. We will get everyone.”
- Zelenskiy said it is “not yet possible” to draw 100% conclusions about what kind of substance was used in Mariupol during his national address late on Tuesday. Earlier, I voiced concerns that Russian forces were preparing “a new stage of terror” that could involve the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine. Andriy Biletsky, the leader of the Azov volunteer regiment, claimed on Monday that three people in the southern port city had experienced “poisoning by warfare chemicals, but without catastrophic consequences”.
- The world’s chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said it is “concerned” over reports of the use of chemical weapons in Mariupol.
- Britain’s armed forces minister James Heappey said “all options are on the table” if evidence of chemical weapons use emerges in an interview with Sky News. “There are some things that are beyond the pale, and the use of chemical weapons will get a response,” he added.
- Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said it has received $4m worth of equipment to digitize Russia’s war crimes. “Two private companies, AXON and Benish GPS, have donated $4 million worth of special equipment (chest video recorders) to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine,” the agency said in an update over the Telegram messaging app.
- The mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boichenko, said the latest estimate was that around 21,000 civilian residents had been killed in the city since the start of the Russian invasion. The number of deaths in Mariupol could be as high as 22,000, Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk regional military administration, told CNN.
- Putin also claimed Russia’s military operation was going as planned, and that Russia’s aim in Ukraine was to meet all its goals and minimize losses. “We will achieve our objectives, there are no doubts,” Putin told workers at the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia’s far east. “Its goals are absolutely clear and noble,” he said of Russia’s military campaign. He said Russia “had no other choice” but to launch what he calls a “special military operation”, and vowed it would “continue until its full completion and the fulfillment of the tasks that have been set”.
- The Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, defended Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, claiming it was a preemptive strike against the west.
- Without Europe’s abandonment of Russia’s energy resources and the complete restriction of Russia’s banking system, Russia’s leadership will not attempt to seek peaceZelenskiy argued.
- Ukraine’s border force said more than 870,000 people who fled abroad since Russia’s invasion have returned to the countryincluding a growing number of women and children, AFP reports.
- US President Joe Biden’s administration is expected to announce another $750 million in military assistance for Ukraine as soon as Wednesday, two US officials familiar with the matter told Reuters.
- The Pentagon will host leaders from the top eight US weapons manufacturers on Wednesday to discuss the industry’s capacity to meet Ukraine’s weapons needs if the war with Russia lasts years, two people familiar with the meeting said on Tuesday.
- The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, spoke with Biden on Tuesday to discuss boosting military and economic support to Ukraine as well as the need to end western reliance on Russian oil and gas.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism